Rescue Dogs

There’s a bit of a discussion going on Sheepdog-L which was started by an individual posting looking for a female Border Collie.  She said she wasn’t interested in a dog older than 6 months, wanted it to be small in size, rough coat, prick ears.  She further stated that the dog doesn’t have to be a good stock dog; just a nice, sweet natured, gentle, energetic girl.

Of course, people posted back saying check out rescue.

Why is it if you are not purposely looking for a stock dog people suggest going to rescue?  While I’m sure some very nice dogs end up in rescue; many of them have personality or health issues, some of which are severe in nature.  In addition, any puppy or dog younger than six months old gets snatched up pretty quickly.  Why?  Because a young dog can be shaped into what you are looking for in a dog.  It takes a lot of remedial work to correct behavior issues in an older dog.

Unfortunately too many people get puppies, not just Border Collies, on a whim.  Because they saw that breed of dog on TV or heard about it from someone else and thought it would be a good idea to get one of their own.  Then they figure out raising such a puppy is more work than they thought it would be.  The puppy ends up running free in the back yard (or worst) until he becomes too much to manage and ends up in rescue.

I have to give people who pull dogs from rescue and rehab them enough so that they are able to compete in dog sports a lot of credit, but that project isn’t for the faint of heart.  It takes a competent, committed trainer to overcome the issues many rescue dogs come in with.  Proof in point, there is an extremely active list at Yahoo Groups called baggage agility.  If you could get a dog from rescue and easily train it to be a competitive sports dog, why would there be the need for such an active list?

I agree that Border Collies should not be bred for anything other than working stock, however, of a litter of puppies bred to work stock, not all of them are going to make useful stock dogs nor are there enough stock homes available for the number of litters being produced.  If an individual wants a Border Collie to compete in sports there is no reason why that person cannot buy a puppy from a litter bred to work stock.  The Border Collie people get so up in arms about breeding for anything other than working stock, and to a certain extent I agree with them, but if someone is going to buy a dog with the intent of breeding it for whatever reason, there’s nothing that is going to prevent that.  All anyone can do is take care of what is within their control, which comes down to the dogs they are keeping for themselves.  You can sell puppies with limited registration privileges, but that isn’t going to stop someone from breeding the dog if that’s what they want to do and there’s plenty of Border Collie breeders in the United States with good working lines who will sell to whomever has the money.

It’s all one big rat race.

 

2 Replies to “Rescue Dogs”

  1. “I have to give people who pull dogs from rescue and rehab them enough so that they are able to compete in dog sports a lot of credit, but that project isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes a competent, committed trainer to overcome the issues many rescue dogs come in with.”

    Thank you! That is a very nice compliment.

    One of my rescues, who was treated rather roughly as a youngster and was abandoned and left to die by her former owners, is now trained to competition level in agility. Her ribbons and titles really exemplify her recovery from a dog who meant nothing to nobody to a happy, confident, loving dog who is now treasured as she always should have been.

    One of my others – the one left to run loose in the backyard until he became too much to manage – is well on his way to getting to that level. Now that one took work, work, and more work to transform from completely wild creature into the well mannered, thoughtful, and focused dog he is today. Sometimes the extent to which he has “normalized” amazes me! I couldn’t ask for more in a competition dog than I have with him, but that didn’t “just happen” by any means!

    It does take commitment, patience, and a good deal of grit to help a dog overcome a difficult start in life. It is amazingly satisfying and it has wonderful moments. At the same time, it is a true challenge.

    It takes a lot of heart.

    Thank you for recognizing that.

  2. You’re right it takes commitment, patience and grit to get through what a lot of these dogs come into rescue with. I don’t have the patience for it, primarily, I think, because I believe a lot of the damage is vaccine-related and I can’t tolerate that. Take a dog that is already psychologically damaged, vaccinate the crap out of it, as most rescues do, and you’ve got a real mess on your hands.

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